Two papers confirming the prevalence of over diagnosis of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) in Germany written by researchers at the University of Basel and Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology and the journalPsychotherapeut were reviewed at the Alpha Galileo web site on March 30, 2012.
The researchers found that:
- “child and adolescent psychotherapists and psychiatrists tend to give a diagnosis based on heuristics, unclear rules of thumb, rather than adhering to recognized diagnostic criteria”;
- males were more likely to be over diagnosed than females based on the heuristic prototype;
- ADHD diagnosis in Germany increased 381 percent from 1989 to 2001 while the costs of ADHD medication increased 9 times.
Both research facilities are recognized world wide for the accuracy and thoroughness of their social research work.
Similar results have been cited by some researchers in the United States and Canada.
The cost of over diagnosis of any disease is a tax payer burden and a growing body of evidence indicates ADHD is over diagnosed world wide.
In the United States we seek to place blame first. Is it the physician, the drug manufacturer, the child, or a parent looking for a government subsidy that makes ADHD so popular a target for over diagnosis?
Papers for reference
K. Bruchmüller, S. Schneider: Fehldiagnose Aufmerksamkeits- und Hyperaktivitätssyndrom? Empirische Befunde zur Frage der Überdiagnostizierung. Psychotherapeut 2012, DOI: 10.1007/s00278-011-0883-7
K. Bruchmüller, J. Margraf, S. Schneider: Is ADHD Diagnosed in Accord With Diagnostic Criteria? Overdiagnosis and Influence of Client Gender on Diagnosis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 2012, DOI: 10.1037/a0026582